This post has been written in my head for a couple of weeks now...I even started writing it a day ago, but then the computer updated before I published and what I had was gone. While I was writing a letter to Bethlehem Lutheran on behalf of Bethel for their 100 years in ministry a thought popped into my head...I wondered how many businesses in the United States have been in existence for 100 years or more...the answer? Around 1,000, which is less than half a percent...to think that Bethel and Trinity have both been in ministry longer than that is amazing (144 years for Bethel and 127 years for Trinity)! (The article referenced in this post is: 'What makes a company survive more than 100 years?' by David Bain.)
The article went on with stating that there were 5 characteristics that these businesses exemplified:
1. Strong corporate mission and culture...they talk about their purpose all the time.
2. Unique core strengths and change management...these companies are very good at innovating and changing but doing this through a position of strength.
3. Close relationships with business partners
4. Long-term employee relationships: employees at all levels stick around longer.
5. Active members of the local community.
As I read about these I, of course, thought about the church. What is our mission/purpose? Well according to Mathew 28:19 "Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit." The mission of The United Methodist Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world." How are we living this out in our congregations? How are we reaching out to those in our communities who may not know the love of God? What would we do, or could we do, differently to facilitate this happening? What partners would we be bridging in our communities? This to me is the heart of who we are, and what we are to be about.